SOME would say the era between 1990-2010 was the most flourishing time for the Shepparton Cricket Association (SCA), having great players either at the end of their careers or the start of outstanding ones.
The great names like Whitelock, Shaw, McPhillamy and O’Brien just to name a few, made up a star studded line-up between 1970-1990. The next batch of stars have been unveiled at the Lightfoot Medal on Monday, March 19 and Peter Cardamone Sports reporter from WEEKNIGHTS and his selection panel have put together the WEEKNIGHTS ‘Best team of the past 20 years of SCA cricket.’
This is their team – Enjoy cricket fans and reminisce.
At the top of the batting order and to face the new ball is Central Park (CP) St Brendans, Sam Ahmet, the smooth opening batsman who made attacks look second rate and with a career average of 40 over 20 years, he was an easy selection.
His partner in crime was three time Lightfoot medalist from Mooroopna, Greg Luscombe. ‘Luz’ as he was better known, was never the one to follow through after bowling the outswinger and beating the bat, nor was he the batsman to stare back at the bowler, he did his job with ‘ease’ and he was the star at the Cats.
At number three was the most damaging batsman the competition had seen in many years, Ian Sartori. Still spoken about as having the best eye with his famous flick off the pads as his trademark, for six!!
At number four is seven time premiership captain from Central Park St Brendans, Rohan Larkin. Who could forget that 200 in a Grandfinal at Deakin Reserve. With that record and his great cricket brain and outstanding leadership qualities, there is no doubt he was always going to be Captain of this star studded lineup.
The number five batting position was filled by the ‘Freak’, Rob Douloudis. The CP St Brendans & Kialla star & three time Lightfoot medalist, ‘Douds’ could open the bowling, open bat, bowl spin, catch a ball one handed while not looking and then throw the stumps down without breaking stride. He was cat-like in the field and as captain of his clubs he was ahead of his time.
Peter ‘Skeeta’ Holland was selected at six and with over 10,000 runs of SCA cricket, and is the perfect fit for the role. One’s and two’s if needed or six over mid on or mid off, was no problem for this one club player and premiership star.
With every great team there can only be one keeper and batting at seven is Glenn Hart from CP St Brendans. In the great teams to come from Deakin Reserve he would normally open the batting, but I’m sure the ‘Shepp East’ junior would have no problems at seven. With great hands behind the stumps and his ability to take control of an attack he was the outstanding batsman/keeper of his time.
We often talk about great ‘past’ players and Chris Keady is still a current day great from Karramomus. Having won five Lightfoot medals (at the time of print) and he will fill that key batting spot at number eight and also the allrounder spot with no arguments here.
Phil Squire has been selected as the spin bowler and the number nine batsman. (Who could forget that century at Chapman Oval in a session?) the Kialla & Lightfoot medalist will also give this team versatility as a ‘lefty’ bowler and a star with the bat and a more than handy fieldsman in the slips.
At number ten we have our first ‘genuine’ opening bowler. Brendan Kenna is one of the new ball fast bowlers and has taken 450 wickets with an average of 20 from the powerful CP St Brendans Cricket Club. He is the heart and soul of this great club and when Larkin needs a wicket or a lift he is the ‘go to man’ and he never lets the captain down.
Batting at number eleven is the man mountain and star of the show from CP St Brendans/Kialla with the new ball, Damian Woodman. At six feet ten and always with the breeze, ‘Woody’ made batsmen squirm. Legend has it ‘Douds’ would make the batsman wait, while ‘Woody’ was at the top of his run-up while the slips cordon gave them the verbal once over after each Damian Woodman ball. People went to the cricket to watch Woodman tear top order batsman apart and some would say he retired way too early.
At number twelve and what a player he was for the mighty Mooroopna Cats, Andrew Young was as slippery on his day as any player the selection panel has seen. A fierce competitor, ‘Grip’ could bowl at pace and with the bat he could turn the game in a matter of overs with his hard hitting down the ground.
The two best umpires from the past 20 years picked themselves. Frank Dean and Jim Evans were the best in the business in their time. Deany was the ‘gone, plumb’ umpire who was very accurate and well respected by all the players. So too was ‘Jimmy’ but he was not as quick with the finger. He would wait and then slowly lift the left hand to the sky with the index finger pointed in the upward position, sending the batsman packing back to the pavilion.
The best team manager was the easiest decision of them all. Kent Crosby was what we want from our current day players on the field, passionate, honest, loveable, likeable and brave. He loved the SCA Rep Cricket Bendigo and Melbourne country week trips and the players who traveled in the times of ‘Cros’ will never forget the one liners like, “not good early”, “outright brothers” and “see ya later like”. A true SCA legend.